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Suspended North Carolina Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Visa Fraud

This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Roydera Hackworth, 63, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and two years of supervised release for fraud in connection with visas, permits and other documents. Information from court documents showed that Hackworth was suspended in 2012 by the North Carolina State Bar. Two years later, the federal Board of Immigration Appeals barred her from practicing in immigration matters before the Executive Office of Immigration review, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. But evidence indicated Hackworth continued to practice. A review by authorities showed that she represented as many as 24 clients, with no knowledge that she submitted their applications under the name of another attorney. AP News

In other national immigration news…

Central Texas Business Owner Forced Back to UK for Missing Visa Renewal

Joan Harrison, a Texas resident and United Kingdom citizen who has managed and owned a property for pet boarding for 15 years, is being forced back to her home country for overstaying her visa by nearly six months. Health and travel restrictions during the pandemic prevented her from visiting family in the U.K., and ultimately also prevented her from renewing her work visa, she said. Harrison suffered two heart attacks and had to undergo heart surgery during the pandemic. “I was treated like an absolute terrorist and told they were going to send me on the next plane,” Harrison said of the deportation process she faced. “My knees buckled up and I thought I was going to have a heart attack, then I was told I have 30 days to sell my business and leave.” DHS allows people with visa renewal online, but Harrison said she was unaware of the option. KXAN

Work Permit Backlog Costing Immigrants Their Jobs

Backlogs in the issuance of U.S. work permits have left many previously employed immigrants unemployed. Renewal processing times have grown at the underfunded Citizenship and Immigration Services. Naina Arora, one of the applicants affected by such delays, checks a U.S. federal government website every 15 days to see when she’ll finally be granted a work permit. Her permit expired in October, and since then, she has been on unpaid leave from her job. Before her permit expired, she had applied for a renewal, assuming it would take around three months to get a new one. Bloomberg

Labor Secretary Addresses Need for U.S. Immigration Reform

During an appearance at the South by Southwest conference in Texas, U.S. Labor Secretary Martin Walsh told audience members that the current U.S. immigration system is hurting American employers and adding to the country’s workforce issues. He said that the U.S. has “anywhere from 11 to 13 million people…that are undocumented, working in some shape or form and there should be a pathway for those folks to become citizens.” Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, agreed and suggested their be flexibility in the number of visas available to U.S. employers each year. Several proposals in Congress to reform the U.S. immigration system have garnered insufficient support to become law. National Law Review

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